By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 27 September 2019
Chanting slogans and carrying placards, exile Tibetan students joined the global climate crisis protests taking place around the world, in the capital of Tibetan Diaspora, McLeod Ganj.
The teenagers shouted slogans like “Tibet is melting, climate justice now” and “Tibet’s rivers, Asia’s lifeline,” as they marched from the nonoperational bus station of the Himalayan village to a parking lot for an event.
A week earlier millions of protesters took part in the Global Climate Strike in what is called “Fridays for Future”, in which several million people are said to have participated around the world.
Swedish climate activist, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, started a lone climate action a year ago by skipping school every Fridays to sit outside her country’s parliament. This sit-in strike became “Fridays for Future”, which inspired millions of school children around the world to join her cause, and this week’s Global Climate Strike.
On Monday Thunberg delivered a scathing rebuke to world leaders at the United Nations climate summit in New York City.
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school, on the other side of the ocean,” Thunberg said in an impassioned speech trying to convince politicians to take climate change seriously, and to do something to stop the global warming.
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, and yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. And all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
Citing scientific studies and warnings, Thunberg said that the greenhouse gas emission is reaching dangerous levels that is heating up the earth’s atmosphere and surface rapidly. She criticised the politicians for not developing solutions and strategies to confront this threat.
Tens of thousands of young people have marched in various parts of the world in the second wave of global protests demanding swift action on climate change.
The latest round of protests is set to culminate in a rally in Montreal, Canada, where Greta Thunberg is scheduled to participate alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
About 100 children participated in the march in McLeod Ganj, organised by Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Association, and Students for a Free Tibet. The event was coordinated by International Tibet Network and Jhatkaa.
The organisers said that Tibet is experiencing a climate emergency due to the rapid melting of the glaciers caused by climate change.
Tibet is known as the “Third Pole”, since its glaciers hold the largest reserve of fresh water outside the polar regions. The rivers from Tibet provide water for more than 1.5 billion people in downstream countries.
But experts say that the temperature rise on the Tibetan plateau is three times faster than the global average of 0.12°C per decade. They believe that at the current rate of increase in temperature, two-thirds of all glaciers on the Tibetan plateau could be gone by 2050.
Claiming that the urgency in Tibet is because of the regressive Chinese policies of massive urbanisation and infrastructure development, and exploitation of natural resources such as mining and deforestation, they urged the global community to stand with Tibet too in finding solutions to halt climate change.